August 28, 2016

Makeup Rehab | The Anti Wishlist #1

The anti-wishlist is inspired by Kimberly Clark's Anti-Haul videos. The vlogging/blogging world is often described as being over-saturated with beauty gurus, all claiming that we need the newest makeup launch in order to make money off of affiliate links. Kimberly's Anti-Haul series has made her one of the few vlogger's I trust. Her message to stop mindlessly spending money on the latest hyped product and adding to the hysteria sets her aside from the rest. So instead of listing everything that I feel the need to impulse buy, I'm scrutinising everything on my wishlist in order to prevent me from buying all of the things.

Christian Louboutin Loubilaque Glosses (Source)

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and the Loubilaque range's mermaid scales on a potion vial made me feel the need to drop £60 on lipglosses! Since lusting after this, I seem to have started wearing lipglosses more but ultimately, there is no such thing as  long lasting lipgloss. If anything, lipglosses tend to shorten the longevity of lipstick. Also, now that I've tried out a Christian Louboutin nail polish and come to the conclusion that it's not amazing enough to justify the price tag, I expect I'll experience the same with these glosses.

MAC Star Trek Collection

MAC has always been that brand that I love to hate. However, out of all the things on this list, this is the most difficult to resist. Despite being unable to claim myself as a Star Trek fan, I certainly have a lot of respect for it's cultural significance. While it's easy to dismiss the range as being nothing but a glitterbomb, the idea of shimmery/metallic lipsticks are intriguing. Unfortunately, all lip swatches I've seen online seem to be patchy and uneven. So I'm going to wait until these are in store to swatch them myself. If I'm lucky, they'll all be sold out by the time I manage to do that.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette (Source)

Jewelled toned palettes are beautiful. So beautiful I already own quite a few and they all seem to have the same eyeshadow colours. A dark blue, dark green, dark red and gold along with other miscellaneous shadows. While I love the Egyptian theme of the palette, none of these shadows are particularly unique. I'm also put off by the fact that the palette isn't just a row of shadows. The loose pigment at the end feels like a waste of space as I feel as though there would have been enough space to fit two shadows there.
Kat Von D & Too Faced Collaboration (Source)

I feel bad mentioning two of Kat Von D's items, especially as I do genuinely love most items in her line. I also love the fact that two brands are actually collaborating with each other, something I don't think we've seen in the past. The magnetic heart packaging with it's contradictory pink princess vs dark goth aesthetic instantly makes me think of friendship necklaces which seems perfectly fit for a brand collaboration.

However, once I saw the inside of the packaging, I felt underwhelmed, with a bunch of neutrals and the odd pink and red shade it seemed uninspired. The logo on either sides of the palettes feel like wasted opportunity for another eyeshadow.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette

Despite longevity issues with Urban Decay's Revolution lipstick line, I loved the packaging and was sad to see them go. While I was very curious to try a new Vice lipstick, the packaging seemed flimsier and I was overwhelmed by choice. Urban Decay announcing 2 different lip palettes for Christmas season seems like the perfect solution to my dilemma. Nope.

I never use lip palettes, they just get ignored. It's so much easier for me to pick up a lipstick and throw it in my handbag than to carry both a lip palette and a lip brush. Cleaning the oil from lipsticks is tough and they can easily create a sticky mess in any bag. Lip brushes, while great for applying makeup perfectly or on someone else are impractical for everyday wear or on the go makeup.
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August 21, 2016

Beauty | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria

When the matte revolution line launched, I was at the Charlotte Tilbury stall swatching the entire collection's lipsticks all over my wrist debating which one's to buy. Very Victoria seemed like the safest bet, guaranteed to make a decent everyday nude lipstick appropriate for work. After finally making the purchase and taking obligatory blog photos, I tried it on my lips and found myself disappointed.

Very Victoria, named after Victoria Beckham, is described as a suede taupe nude lipstick. For a matte lipstick, I felt that the lipstick only provided a sheer coverage on my naturally dark lips. Either that or Very Victoria happens to be the exact same colour as my lips. It makes me feel as though I'm not wearing any lipstick at all. I certainly wouldn't describe the finish as matte but more along the lines of a satin finish. You may have better luck with this if your lips are lighter than mine? To make matters worse, it doesn't seem to last particularly long without the help of a lip liner.

While I thought it was in my head, I'd keep coming back to this lipstick every few months and just feel so 'meh'  about it. My suspicions on it being off was confirmed during the release of Charlotte Tilbury's Hot Lips release, where Very Victoria was no longer classed as part of the Matte Revolution line but was now part of the Hot Lips collection.

Aside from the gorgeous packaging, the only real pro to Very Victoria is that it's an exact dupe to that Kylie Jenner lipstick everyone was obsessing over a while ago. A cruelty-free alternative to MAC.

Of all my Charlotte Tilbury purchases, this left me incredibly unsatisfied. It'll more than likely get passed on to someone else who'll appreciate it. With a price tag of £23, I learned the difficult lesson of not relying on arm swatches alone and to wear the product before parting with my money in future.

Have you tried any disappointing products recently?
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August 14, 2016

Beauty | Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Nail Polish

Now that I've managed to stop spending my lunch breaks in a beauty hall, I've drastically cut the number of beauty spending sprees I go on. The downside is, that on the rare occasion I do splurge on makeup, the purchases are overly frivolous. After finishing up a bottle of red nail polish, I made the irrational decision to pick up one of the most expensive bottles of nail polishes out there, Christian Louboutin's Rouge Louboutin. Yes, I judge me too.

With a black ombre glass bottle and a handle inspired by calligraphy, the same length as the stiletto heels of Louboutin's shoes, the polish is unlike any other on the market. The long handle makes storage impractical, it's better suited as a display piece for the dressing table. The length of the handle makes for easy application but is slightly heavy. For better control, I had to grip close to the brush.

Rouge Louboutin is a bright in your face red. One that perfectly matches the iconic black and red shoe. The formula dries down surprisingly quickly so I managed to not mess up my nails as they dried down. While it is quite a chip-resistant polish, I found it begins to chip away around the 4th day without a top coat. Despite the decent formula, I wouldn't say it's so good it's worth the price point ($50 in the US or £36 in the UK). You're paying the extra buck for the brand and luxury packaging. Whether that's worth it is going to vary per individual.

Will I be buying another? Maybe. As lovely as they are I don't quite see myself collecting them all with my current income. If I bought another it would have to be a truly unique shade or one that I knew I'd get a lot of use of. In the meanwhile, I have several other nail polishes to use up before I even consider trying a new one.
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August 11, 2016

Brand Roundup | Best of Nyx Cosmetics

2016, the year that NYX Cosmetics finally became easily available across the UK in major retailers like Boots and Selfridges. They seem to be a brand that's quite easy to buy in every other country, it's about time they finally made it here. NYX isn't a brand whose items I'd use for my daily face (with one exception). My favourite thing about NYX is that they're an affordable way to try out unconventional trends with an amazing range of products.

Color Mascara | When lots of brands began coming out with colourful mascara, it seemed as though it was only midrange and high end brands that were doing them. Knowing that I'd rarely ever wear them, I didn't want to spend that much money on something I'd wear to the occasional festival or night out. Thankfully NYX's only cost me £5.50. NYX's colour mascara comes in mint green, purples, coral, royal blue, pink and black. The only downside is that I find I have to really layer and pack the mascara on to make sure the colour applies on every lash.

Butter Lipsticks | The NYX butter lipsticks come in 22 different shades and are my all time favourite NYX product. While I've always been a matte lipstick woman, the butter lipsticks are the first to make me embrace the glossy satin finish. The plus side of the finish is that they're rather moisturising and feel more daytime/work appropriate than matte dark/berry lipsticks.  For an affordable satin finish lipstick, they're reasonably long lasting.

Vivid Bright Liners | The vivid bright range provides eyeliners in all the colours of the rainbow and 2 pinks. I currently only own the red eyeliner, Fire. It's rather opaque but if you skim on the product you'll definitely need to layer it. It's not waterproof which means the tips of my wings fade during hay fever season. They're a great alternative to Lime Crime's uniliners and a better price. Stopping myself from catching them all has been a struggle.

Jumbo Pencil in Milk | The holy grail item that everyone mentions. Milk makes an excellent white base for any troublesome eyeshadows, especially pastels or the usual culprit colour, yellow! It's a must for bright colourful eye makeup, the white base really helps make the colour pop. Best to skip if you dislike bright makeup.

Macaron Lippies | I don't consider the macaron lippies (review) to be a great product. The quality is seriously lacking in most shades. You'll find yourself layering the lipsticks for pigmentation and it fades quickly. They still deserve an honourable mention for being one of the first drugstore brands to release unconventional lip colours.
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August 07, 2016

Beauty | Kat Von D Metal Crush Shadow in Black No 1

When the Metal Crush shadows released, I genuinely had 0 interest in picking any of them up. It wasn't until one of the Sephora staff showed off how pigmented they were with a single swipe that I started paying them any attention. With eyeshadow names like Paranoid and Danzig, Kat Von D's metal crush line is a joy for any metal nerd out there. Awesome eyeshadow names always make me want to catch 'em all. 

Somehow I managed to control myself and settled on two shadows. Both were colours that I would actually use regularly instead of adding to my pile of 1000 rainbow coloured eyeshadows. Today's shadow, Black No 1, named after my favourite Type O Negative song, is a metallic gunmetal, perfect for a daytime smoky eye.

At approx 2.8g, the eyeshadow pans are some of the most generous out there. See through cases are always a bonus with single shadows, being able to immediately tell what colour shadow is in the case is a must. The metal crush range are the creamiest powder shadows I've tried. They almost feel like a hybrid powder cream eyeshadow.

Unfortunately, while the rest of the shadows are very pigmented, I seemed to have picked up the one dud out of the range. The shadow doesn't seem to stick well to the skin and applies very faintly despite using an eye primer. It also has a lot of fallout, at the end of a night, I'll find my face is covered in sparkles. Instead of packing on the shadow, causing more fallout all over the face, I use a sticky wet base/glitter glue (Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy) on the lids as a primer to get a more pigmented look.

With a price tag of $21 per shadow, I'd suggest only picking up shadows that you'd get a lot of use from. Alternatively, if you had a lot of disposable income, I'd definitely suggest picking them all up aside from Black No 1.
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August 02, 2016

Travel Diaries | Three Days in Taormina, Italy

I've been doing an excellent job at neglecting all aspects of the online world. Zero blogging remorse had led to taking even longer to get back to it. I made the 'mistake' of going on two holidays in March (can't complain). After that, I just got side tracked by life. It's taken the depressing reality of Brexit to inspire me to get back into blogging by sharing my European adventures. The trip to Italy involved a day in Naples both before and after our stay in Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily.

DAY 1 - Landing & First Impressions

As there aren't any direct flights from the UK to Taormina, we flew to Catania via Naples. The flight had an epic view of Mount Vesuvius on take off. Once we landed, we booked an hour car ride to transport us to our hotel in Taormina. Since I had done 0 research for the trip, I was taken by the breathtaking views from the hotel.

The first thing we checked out were the Botanical Gardens since it was next door and was free of charge. Instead of walking along the small tight roads, the gardens provided a more scenic route towards Corso Umberto, the main street of Taormina. The Giardini della Villa Comunale has stunning views of the sea, Mount Etna and the rest of Taormina and also seemed to be perfectly well kept. It's also had a quirkiness to it, with a statue of two angels in love and several animal residents.

On the main street we spent hours shopping and exploring the main Piazza. The stores mainly had handcrafted items, from jewellery, clothes, to dinnerware and toys like Sicilian puppets. There were also a few designer stores mainly specialising in Italian leather handbags. I was surprised to find a Kiko store on Corso Umberto but then learned that the brand was actually Italian. We finished the day off with olive oil, pasta and seafood for dinner.

Day 2 - Ancient Theatre & Exploring

We started day 2 by checking out the Greek Ampitheater. Considering it's well over 2000 years old, it's very well preserved. Walking the grounds, I couldn't help but transport myself back in time. Imagining I was watching a play in such a theatre, I doubt I would have been able to pay much attention to the play with such a stunning backdrop.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the town and shopping, mainly for Sicilian pasta, olive oil and chocolate. By the end of the day we managed to exhaust ourselves and had an early night after dinner.

Day 3 - Trekking Etna & Goodbyes

On our last day we woke up bright and early to make sure we packed everything up before heading down for breakfast. Once we had freshened up, we made our way to the lobby to meet our guide for the Etna excursion. As Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano. I was hoping to witness some activity but sadly the most exciting thing to come from it was steam. We had tried to arrange the volcano trip for previous days but it had been storming up there on the previous nights. Resulting in us hiking in the deepest snow I've been in. If it weren't for our guide we could have easily fallen into some craters.

After our hike by exploring some volcanic caves, forcing me to go way outside of my comfort zone. Climbing down into an icy cave with stairs covered in so much ice and snow you're forced to grab on to a string of rope to help you down was terrifying for someone who's not used to do anything outdoorsy.

After enduring way more physical activity than I'm accustomed to, we got back into our guide's jeep and went to one of the volcano's town to enjoy locally sourced food, honey and olive oil. We then had to rush back to or hotel catch our flight back to Naples.

Best hotel staff member during check out time!
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